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Written by the son and daughter of Henry Hill (the Mafia informant who became the focus of the book 'Wiseguy' and the movie 'Goodfellas'), this is an account of a childhood spent inside the Witness Protection Programme.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fans of mob turncoat Henry Hill based on Nicholas Pileggi's Wiseguy (an account of Hill's life) and the popular film adaptation Goodfellas will be forced to dramatically re-evaluate him after reading this gripping memoir by his children-who were only a passing blip in those earlier versions. Their warts-and-all portrayal of the immense disruption to their lives caused by their father's criminal recidivism is often heartbreaking. At a young age, they were exposed to family friends like Jimmy "the Gent" Burke, whom they knew as Uncle Jimmy, unaware he was a brutal truck hijacker. When investigators on the 1980 multimillion-dollar Lufthansa heist obtained Hill's cooperation as a witness, the children were given an hour to pick through their possessions to select what they could take with them into their new life in the witness protection program. Gregg and Gina often give overlapping perspectives of the same events, as they struggle to adjust, without the benefit of any guidance, and to craft plausible backstories for their new classmates and neighbors. Gregg's story is especially moving as he traces his personal evolution from model student to an adolescent forced to protect his mother from his father. The grimness is leavened with humor, and the many readers who will be rooting for these innocent victims will be heartened by their capacity to transcend a truly awful upbringing. B&w photos. Agent, Joel Gotler at AMG Renaissance. (Sept. 21) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

A raw-boned, horror-strewn account of life with a drug-addicted mobster father, written in alternating voices by his two children. Henry Hill was a smalltime wise guy. "He stole, fenced, bootlegged, loan-sharked, and extorted," writes son Gregg. It started with a little arson, some point-shaving of basketball games at Boston College, but then came the drugs: cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and pills. Henry sold; Henry partook. Henry got mean and viciously beat on his family. Henry may also have had some small part in the famous Lufthansa heist that netted $5.8 million. People associated even tangentially with that theft, still unresolved and still the biggest cash robbery in US history, had a tendency to disappear. The feds made it simple for Henry, who had just been arrested for dealing drugs. "Go to prison and probably get killed. Go back on the street and definitely get killed. Or cooperate." So the family entered the witness protection program, and things got only worse. According to Gregg, a full-blown cynic ("I was always uncomfortable, which I suppose a ten-year-old boy should be when his mother is smuggling contraband into a federal penal institution"), and Gina, the innocent ("I guess we were never what other people would call a normal family"), their father could never keep his trap shut or stay away from booze and drugs. They had to flee safe harbor after safe harbor as each became compromised by their father's penchant for notoriety. (Gregg, the more entertaining writer, remarks of Omaha, Nebraska: "If they can find us here, they can find us anywhere.") Finally, after Henry has nearly killed each member of the family numerous times in his narcotized hazes, everyone deserts him, including witness protection. He is, remarkably, still alive--after a fashion. Just as remarkably, so are Gregg and Gina. Stephen King couldn't have made up this tale of a father's savagery and its god-awful toll. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

While Martin Scorsese's almost-lovable wiseguy Henry Hill led a life of unbroken adventure with the Mob--finding haven in the federal witness protection program when he informed on his colleagues--it was hard to know just who, besides Hill's crime victims, was paying the tab. In this wrenching but involving account, we find out: his children. Hill's son and daughter pick up the story pretty much where Scorsese's Goodfellas left off: the family packing their belongings into Hefty bags and hustling to safe houses in the Hamptons, then Omaha, then rural Kentucky, then finally Redmond, Washington. Our lives weren't just falling apart, explains son Gregg, they'd been vaporized, liquidated, erased. And their father only made things worse, resuming his criminalizing but also carelessly exposing the family to the mobsters trying to kill them. Miraculously, son and daughter here seem to have outrun the horror of their childhood, so far. --Alan Moores Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

What it has been like to be the children of Wiseguy Henry Hill. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.